Fish Taco

Throughout the North Coast and South West Extension Service Regions, the adult and childhood obesity incidence is greater than the Oregon average. In fact, few Americans consume the minimum recommended amount of whole grains, vegetables or fruits.

“Tastes great and so easy!! Will make it again and again,” said one fan of the fish taco recipe on, a website jointly funded by OSU Extension Service and USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Fish Tacos is one of 286 recipes posted on the Food Hero website. The vetted, healthy recipes can be sorted by number of ingredients, meal preparation time, cooking method, kid approved (yes, they actually survey kids to see if they like the food!) and more. Cooking tips and tools, including how to balance calories and shop on a budget, are also offered on the site.

“Food Hero is a research-based social marketing campaign aimed at parents who use the Internet and have kids under the age of 18 living in their homes,” stated Lauren Tobey, OSU nutrition specialist. The goal is simple: show parents and their kids how easy it is to eat more fruits and vegetables, whether fresh, frozen or canned.

A partnership with Grocery Outlet put flyers featuring two potato-based Food Hero recipes — Chicken, Potato and Pepper Bake and Superhero Shepherd’s Pie — and a coupon for a free 10lb. bag of russet potatoes (with a $10 minimum purchase) in Oregon newspapers in December. Another flyer/coupon will run in January.

The OSU Extension Service North Coast Region (Columbia, Clatsop, Tillamook and Lincoln counties) and South West Region (Lane, Douglas, Coos and Curry counties) teamed up to submit coordinating proposals for two full awards of $25,000 each (totaling $50,000) through the Moore Family Center Healthy Communities Outreach Project grant. Led by Jenny Rudolph, Lead Principal Investigator, the proposal was based on a strong partnership with the state SNAP-Ed team along with county-based Family Community Health (FCH) and 4-H faculty, and many local partners.

In March 2015, the campaign team partnered with OSU Interactive Communications to produce a series of short videos. The videos feature local families making healthy, whole-grain recipes together. The videos, which can be seen on, are designed to empower low income families to prepare healthy meals together, demonstrate easy, fun ways for kids to help in the kitchen, promote the use of low-cost whole grains in family meals, and to increase awareness of the website as a resource for healthy recipes and tips.

A 30-second commercial was also produced in English and in Spanish. The English version was distributed in a media buy campaign along the North Coast and South West regions, appearing June 12 through August 6 as a preview ad at theaters in Astoria, Lincoln City, Newport, Seaside, Springfield, North Bend, and Roseburg, including the opening weekend of Jurassic World. Audience estimates totaled 537,000.

In Southern Oregon, local Coordinated Care organizations (CCO) are very supportive of the OSU SNAP-Ed programs. “They have similar community health goals to  reduce obesity, improve nutrition choices among children and adults, and increase food security,” said Cheryl Kirk, community health instructor at Josephine County Extension Service.  “When I showed the Food Hero video segments to my partner at  All Care CCO, she was excited about the possibility to run the 30-second spot in local theaters.  So I basically connected the dots with OSU media, Sally Bowman, program manager for Family and Community Health/SNAP-Ed, and the CCO. We were all excited that this could happen during the busy holiday movie season and the release of the new Star Wars movie.” Theater ads will run December 18 through January 8 in Medford, Grants Pass and White City. The campaign coincides with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. An estimated audience of 105,000 will view the video commercial.

An online media buy featured the video commercial, which linked back to the Food Hero website. The online campaign was targeted to the North Coast and South West Regions June 12 through August 10 creating an estimated 524,000 impressions.

Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) is distributing the videos to their county offices for caseworkers to use in DHS lobbies. And all county SNAP-Ed units across the state are encouraged to use the videos at local events.

The video project team received the 2015 OSU Extension Association Oscar Hagg Communications Award in recognition of superior and distinguished achievement in effectively utilizing creative communications techniques.

According to Sally Bowman, the Oregon Department of Education is scaling and crediting Food Hero recipes for meal programs in schools and childcare settings. At least 100 credited recipes meeting Federal guidelines for school meals will be available to school kitchens.

If you’re tired of the same old recipes, or want to start eating a healthier diet on a budget, you will find many new recipes — from Almond Rice Pudding to Zucchini Zowie — to try throughout the new year.


Share a favorite recipe loaded with fruits, vegetables or whole grains in the comment section below.




For the Fish

2 pounds cod fillets

3 Tablespoons lime juice (about two limes)

1 tomato, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon oil

1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

1⁄4 teaspoon salt


For the Slaw

2 cups shredded red cabbage

1⁄2 cup green onions, chopped

3⁄4 cup nonfat sour cream

3⁄4 cup salsa


2 cups shredded red cabbage

1⁄2 cup green onions, chopped

3⁄4 cup nonfat sour cream

3⁄4 cup salsa


8 corn tortillas (6-inch), warmed


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place fish in baking dish.
  3. Mix lime juice, tomato, onion, cilantro, oil, peppers, and salt and spoon on top of fillets.
  4. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep fish moist.
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes.
  6. Mix cabbage and onion; mix sour cream and salsa and add to cabbage mixture.
  7. Divide cooked fish among tortillas. Add 1/4 cup of slaw to each. Fold over and enjoy!
  8. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.


  • Freeze extra lime juice to use later.
  • One reader added some canned chilies to the baked fish and a little ranch dressing to the slaw. The substituted green cabbage because it was on sale.

See nutrition information at:

Sources:, Oregon Whole Grain Heroes Video Campaign 2015 Impact Statement, Sally Bowman, Cheryl Kirk and Jenny Rudolph



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